collaborative post // Though most conventional fashion advice revolves around putting together cohesive, polished, put-together looks, this is by no means the only aesthetic you should strive for if you want to look and feel your best.

In recent years, in fact, fashion enthusiasts all over the world have shown increasing interest in putting together mismatched outfits—whether it’s by mixing prints, creating unconventional color combinations, or combining casual and formal pieces.

At its best, mismatched fashion encourages you to buck convention, experiment, and ultimately expand your imagination. It requires you to reconsider what looks good and feels good to wear, to make bold sartorial decisions, and to carry your every ensemble fearlessly.

And while it might take some time and practice before you feel fully at home in a mismatched ensemble, you’re also likely to come away feeling freer and more confident about your fashion choices.

If you’re only just getting into mismatched fashion, you’ll want to take note of these five helpful style tips:

Start with Mismatched Accessories and Shoes

It’s totally understandable if you don’t feel comfortable rocking a floral blouse with a polka-dotted skirt and hot pink cowboy boots right off the cuff. Instead, start small by choosing offbeat shoes and accessories that don’t quite blend with the rest of your outfit.

For instance, try wearing a sundress with combat boots or a colorful pair of opaque tights under a pencil skirt. When you feel ready to try something a bit more radical, wear a different earring in each ear—but balance it all by making sure your outfit has an overall theme.

Try Wearing Stripes on Stripes

Stripes are the perfect introductory print for anyone who’d like to try mixing patterns but doesn’t want to start with anything too crazy. Try choosing pieces with stripes of varying widths to keep your overall look interesting, like pairing a pair of pinstriped pants with a blouse with thicker, bolder stripes.

You might also want to match striped items with differing textures to prevent your look from becoming one-dimensional. A ribbed sweater, for example, will definitely look good with a satin skirt or a pair of soft silk pants for contrast.

When mixing stripes, choosing one unifying color can help if you’re still worried about the final outfit being too over-the-top. Make sure this color shows up in every piece you wear, whether as an accent color or one of the dominant colors. This will help pull your outfit together and make your mixing and matching look more intentional.

Mix Prints in Similar Colors

While mixing prints can be daunting, especially if you’ve strictly stuck to wearing just one patterned item at a time in the past, there are many ways to ease yourself into it. For instance, going for a relatively cohesive color scheme can help bring just enough order to an outfit composed of mismatched patterns.

Try working with exclusively black and white if you’re a fan of monochromatic look, or stick to colors with similar levels of saturation like pastels and jewel tones. Keeping your entire outfit either dark or light from head to toe is another helpful way to add cohesion.

Another interesting style tip you can try for mixing patterns with more intention involves pulling an accent color from one garment and choosing a second piece that utilizes that color as a dominant hue. A mustard yellow top with dark red flowers, for example, is sure to look great with a polka-dotted skirt in the same shade of red.

Wear Complementary Colors

Of course, playing with patterns isn’t the only way to rock mismatched fashion. Embracing bright colors will also enable you to create eye-catching ensembles for example, Kaftans for women are available in different color hues, thus making them perfect pick colored outfits.  If you’re already used to wearing just a pop of color against an otherwise neutral outfit, now is the perfect time to go bolder and dress in vivid hues from head to toe.

Unsure about what colors look good together? Start with pairing complementary colors. To identify which colors complement each other, pull up an image of a color wheel and look at which shades sit opposite each other. These include yellow and purple, red and green, blue and orange, and so on. Don’t be afraid to diverge slightly from what you see on the color wheel as well, such as by matching a pastel pink with a deep emerald green instead.

Mix Formal and Casual Pieces

Mixing streetwear with more formal attire has long been a trend in menswear, and there’s no reason ladies can’t participate in the fun too. Wearing a sweatshirt or a graphic T-shirt under a tailored blazer can bring some laid-back street-style energy to a typical suited-up look.

If you’d like to go the extra mile, ditch the dress shoes in favor of a pair of sneakers or add in some quirky jewelry. While this particular fashion choice might raise some eyebrows about whether your outfit is occasion-appropriate, most onlookers will probably appreciate your daring.

At the end of the day, the biggest secret to carrying mismatched fashion with aplomb is just to have fun with what you wear. Choosing clothes you love and embracing creative ways to wear them will enable you to put together topsy-turvy looks that everyone who sees you will remember.


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